Government to corner Congress on missing Ishrat Jahan documents

Inquiry committee decided to gather evidence' to support existence of documents related to Ishrat being part of Lashkar.

New Delhi: The BJP-led NDA government is pushing the pedal on the missing papers of the Ishrat Jahan case, which can embarrass the previous UPA government in the coming days. The one-man inquiry committee set up by the Union home ministry has decided to gather “evidence” to support the existence of documents related to Ishrat being part of a Lashkar module on a mission to kill then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

The inquiry committee’s brief is not only to prove that the said documents went missing but also probe whether these crucial documents were “not made a part of the other files submitted in connection with the other cases” related to Ishrat Jahan.

The “period” of correspondence when the documents went missing will be established by the inquiry committee, which can then summon officials who dealt with the files.

The period relates to the tenure of P. Chidambaram as Union home minister and G.K. Pillai as home secretary.

For now, the one-man panel of B.K. Prasad, additional secretary in the MHA, has begun its work by calling for the “original file of notes” along with the detailed total number of pages of documents and the references as they were used during correspondence between all the departments concerned in the ministry.

Indicating that the BJP government is taking the issue very “seriously”, home minister Rajnath Singh had last week accused the erstwhile UPA government of hatching a “deep conspiracy” to frame Mr Modi in the Ishrat Jahan case when he was Gujarat CM. Mr Singh had said that the previous regime had done a “flip-flop” on the links of Ishrat Jahan with Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The one-man panel has been asked to submit its report at the earliest. Top sources in the ministry said the panel will work under a broad jurisdiction where if during inspection of evidence it is substantiated that the said documents were missing, it can also call for any other relevant supplementary files in connection with its inquiry.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha on the issue, the home minister had said, “Two letters from the then home secretary to the attorney-general in 2009 have gone missing. The then attorney-general had vetted two affidavits regarding the case. Those are also not available.” Without naming Mr Chidambaram, Mr Singh alleged that affidavits were corrected on the intervention of the then home minister.

It may be recalled that the first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from the Maharashtra and Gujarat police besides the Intelligence Bureau where it was said that 19-year-old Ishrat was a Lashkar operative but it was omitted in the second affidavit.

Mr Pillai had recently revealed that as home minister, Mr Chidambaram had recalled the Ishrat file a month after the original affidavit, which described Ishrat and her slain aides as LeT operatives, was filed in the court. Mr Pillai had said that details on Ishrat’s LeT links were “changed” at the political level. Subsequently, Mr Chidambaram has admitted that changes were made in the affidavit but claimed Mr Pillai was equally responsible for the same.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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